China plans to shut down hundreds of small thermal power stations, which are major air polluters, and develop clean hydropower resources, it was announced recently.

Power Industry Minister, Shi Dazhen, according to the China Daily, has said that the closure of thermal plants would start next year. The plan envisages the closing down of 10 860MW of installed thermal capacity. Dazhen outlined plans to develop untapped hydro resources in western areas of inland China and bring power to the economically booming eastern coastal areas.

According to the Minister, hydropower accounted for only 23.5 per cent of installed power capacity last year, well down from its 30 per cent contribution in 1980. The Minister predicted that this ratio would bounce back to 30 per cent by the year 2010, with the opening of planned hydro plants.

Dazhen made his remarks at the national power conference held in Beijing recently.